An unusual interview with DIADA

When interviewing someone, you are never sure in which direction the talk might go. This conversation lasted nearly 6 months. While we were able to get to know each other, some part of the conversation was cut for privacy reasons. We discussed, we chatted and we had some fun, but not everything needs to be in public at all times.

If you are not familiar with her work, please go and check Diada’s Flickr account first. As chaotic and overwhelming as her stream might be from time to time, if you start to fully embrace her work, you will be able to understand it much better. It is similar to her character.

Diada seems chaotic, without planning and hectic. But by getting to know her, this was only one side. The same for her images.

TH- You have an incredible output of images and your work seems very personal. Would you let us know a bit more about yourself? Something, you might not reveal in your images?

D- I can best explain myself through photographs.  Not only because my English is lacking, but I’m a shy person, even if it may not appear that way through my images.

TH- Your images actually feel very personal, as if you invite someone into your private life. At the same time, I know that you are a very private person and cautious about your online personality. That seems quite contradictory to me. Do you feel the same way?

D- Well, my images are my life but not quite completely.  There is also something missing.  I have lost years of my ‘life’ due to a broken hard drive.  Yes, I’m contradictory, I know.  If I had to analyze myself, maybe its because I have many personalities.

TH- Your black and white images seem different than your colour images. Are you using color / BW depending on your mood? Do you know before you are shooting if the image should be in BW or color or is it solely an editing choice?

D- Most of my BW are old pics. I only started shooting colour in recent years. That might be a reason that the feeling is so different. I never know before what I will shoot – the same is that I don’t know if I shoot colour or BW. And anyways, I am using a very old D80. If I shoot in color and at 1,600 ISO, my images look like puzzles of a color blind child.

TH- Are you using flash the same way, you are deciding between BW and colour images? Are you using only the built in flash?

D- Yes, I only have the built-in flash, but I don’t actually know how to set it.  My flash was set up years ago by a friend and photographer, Philip Koch.  I don’t only use the built-in flash.  At night I always keep a headlamp and the rear light of a bicycle to get a red or white tint.  

TH- Do you actually plan your time shooting or do you more document your surroundings wherever you are?

D- Both.  I can’t leave the house without my camera.  It is always with me, even at my house.  The camera is constantly in my bag, even if I know I won’t be using it.

TH- It seems you are really treating the camera as your slave as Daido Moriyama expressed it so nicely. Do you actually have any influences when it comes to photography?

D- I don’t feel my camera is a slave, for my she is more a girlfriend… I’m really in love with her.  My English is very limited and I’ve only read one interview with Moriyama and I am not very familiar with his work.  So, my understanding of the interview was more my personal interpretation.  I think that I agree with him that photography is basically about life, sex and death.  But my personal vision is against anthropocentrism.  I think all of us are animals and we are not as evolved as we believe.  I know little about photography and photographers, even less about cameras and lenses.  I can’t afford any kind of photography events, exhibitions, materials, books or even afford to print my own images.  I am in Burn My Eye and honestly I don’t understand how that happened.  I just can’t stop taking pictures, I finally found my way to communicate.  

TH- You are completely self taught and do not have any access to exhibitions, books etc. Do you think that actually helped you to develop your style? And in regards of communicating, is that more of an internal process of explaining yourself to the world or are you trying to communicate with the outside world?

D- Well, there are no technically perfect images in my stream.  I think that I’m not influenced by any styles because I’ve never taken any photography courses, maybe in that way it is my unique vision.  In regards to communication, I hope the outside world can understand.  I agree with the photographer Tina Murtha when she said “I want to take pictures of policeman kicking children”.

TH – In your stream, there are a lot of images of people who seem to not live the typical 9 to 5 lifestyle. It seems more like an alternative lifestyle. From my personal experience, it is quite difficult to shoot within that group or even post their images on social media. Are you cautious about the images you are posting or are you waiting for a period of time, before you publish the images?

D-  Yes, I am cautious about it, and I always try to respect personal identity.  I am less cautious in public events where people want to be seen and have their photo taken.  Also, from my experience, it is difficult to shoot in some particular places.  If I am shooting in squats and the other people don’t know me, they can get very angry.  I take pictures with the maximum possible respect wherever I go, so I always do it, I’m not afraid.  I rarely ask permission, if I do I lose the picture.  I normally ask for permissions after having taken the picture.  In recent years, when people don’t want me to shoot them, I usually insist I’ve never had Facebook.  This helps me to have their consent.  So yes, I’m very cautious but I’m not able to wait.  It goes the same with publishing images.

TH- Do you actually ever consider serializing your images or are you working on any other projects photography wise?

D- Well, I have dreamed of that in the last few years.  I hope to make a strong body of work in reportage.  I love to take images of people in action.  In case some photography agency wants me to make reportage in some dangerous part of the world after reading this interview, here I am!  However, I need to find a way to buy a new camera and a pair of lenses, perhaps through crowdfunding.  I am constantly (day and night) cursing that I can’t take the pictures I want because my camera and 20mm lens are half broken.  Also, I need a magic editor to teach me how to select my images.  

TH- Quite often you hear, that it is good for creativity to limit or constrain yourself. No new cameras, old equipment, etc makes you more creative. You are now in the middle of such a situation in which you actually constrain yourself due to the lack of funds. Do you have the feeling it helps your creativity or is it just a myth?

D- It’s a myth.  It’s very easy to say that while having the big-bag-o-million-dollar-cameras at home.  Fuck all that constraining yourself for creativity, I need a new camera!